Sri Ramakrishna’s Training

Turiyananda and His Master

Although we were fortunate to only meet the Master very recently, we were deeply drawn to his fascinating teachings from day one. Of course, we didn’t understand the reason for that at the time. Now we realize how unique his teaching style was.

There was no parade of learning, no shopping in logic, no festoon of beautiful sentences nor was there any studied artificiality in the use of words —-or to obscure deep thoughts by using very few words, as was done by Indian writers of philosophical aphorisms (i.e. Sutra literature). We cannot say whether the Master, who was the embodiment of the ideas he expressed, paid any attention to the language he used. But anyone who has ever heard him speak must have noticed how he held up picture after picture drawn from events of everyday life, from the things and experiences that the audience was probably familiar with, to fix these ideas in their minds . Also, the listeners were freed from doubt and fully convinced of the truth of his words, as if they were seeing it performed before their eyes.

When asked how these pictures could immediately come into his mind, we point out that the reason lies in his extraordinary memory, his wonderful understanding, his keen powers of observation and his unique presence of mind. But the Master always said that the grace of the Divine Mother was the only cause. He used to say: “Mother is in the heart of him who is completely dependent on her, and she makes him say everything he has to say by showing it to him through unmistakable signs.

Mother keeps his mind filled with a storehouse of knowledge that she continually supplies from her never-ending supply of wisdom, whenever it seems to be in short supply. This way it will never be exhausted, no matter how much of it he spends. One day, while explaining that fact, he mentioned the following event.

There was a government warehouse north of the Kali Temple in Dakshineswar, where some Sikh soldiers lived to guard it. They were all devoted to the Master and sometimes they took him to their chambers and made him clear their doubts on various religious matters and the Master said: “One day they asked: “How should a person live in the world so that he can meet God? can realize?” I immediately saw a picture of a peeling machine before my eyes. Rice was being peeled and a person was gently pushing the rice into the mortar where the pestle fell. As soon as I saw it, I realized that Mother was explaining to me that you are so careful must live in the world. Just like the person who sits by the mortar and pushes the rice is always careful that the pestle does not fall on his hand, so a person who is engaged in worldly activities must always be careful not to get entangled , by being aware that the worldly affairs are not his, and thus can escape without getting hurt and lost.

As soon as I saw the picture of the peeling machine, Mother put this idea in my mind and I then told the soldiers about it. They were very happy to hear it. Such images came to mind when I talk to people. ”

Another feature was observed in the Master’s teaching method. He never confused the questioner by speaking unnecessary words. He carefully discerned the subject and purpose of the person’s question and then answered it in a few decisive sentences. Furthermore, to convince that person, the Master would present illustrations in the above manner. His “statement of conclusion” was the special feature of his method of teaching. He would answer only what he knew in his heart to be true. He would not say that there was no other solution to the problem. Not least that impression would be firmly impressed upon the minds of the hearers because of the Master’s deep-seated conviction and the emphasis he placed on his expressions. If a person, based on training and past impressions, presented contradictory reasons and arguments and did not find his conclusions which the Master knew by experience to be true, the Master would end the subject by saying: “I I said whatever came into my mind. Now take what you want and throw away the head and the tail.” Thus he never sought to disturb anyone’s understanding, by hindering his freedom. Did he think that the hearer would not accept the true solution of the subject under discussion until he had attained a higher mental state by the will of God? It seems like. Again, the Master did not stop there, but amplified his statements, alternating them with songs composed by well-known saints, and sometimes citing examples from the Writings. Needless to say that it would remove the doubts of the enquirer as to the conclusion of the truth, and being convinced, he would shape his life accordingly.

Selected from Ramakrishna as We Saw Him and presented by Mary Saaleman
Mary Saaleman

studies Vedanta and participates in the activities of the Vedanta Society of Holland. She is deeply devoted to the study, propagation and practice of the ideals of Mother Sri Sarada Devi, Sri Ramakrishna and Swamiji.